Dinosaur Dracula!

Halloween Cereals from the 1990s!

Unforgettable yet somehow forgotten, the Halloween cereals of the late ‘90s were THINGS TO BEHOLD. With amateur digital photography and word-of-mouth internet advertising still in their collective infancy, the goal — unlike with so many of today’s spooky foodstuffs — had nothing to do with “getting people talking.”

Instead, the spooky cereals of that era had an arguably more genuine charm. They were Halloweeny in the most on-the-nose sorts of ways, and given the design trends of the time, they all came in positively gaudy boxes. Love it!

Collected below are four Halloween cereals from the very late ‘90s. Some of these boxes are extraordinarily rare, and I’m just the type of idiot who will take great pride putting the first photos of them online. Course, when someone at Buzzfeed steals ‘em next month, that pride will turn to piss.

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Kellogg’s Monster (Corn) Pops!

Did I say late ‘90s? Whoops — these are actually from 2000. Let’s assume that all of my prior points still hold. (They do.)

I’ve already written about 2001’s Candy Corn Pops, which came in one of the coolest cereal boxes from any era. Now that I’ve found this version, I dunno… I think I might like it even better.

The front of the Monster Pops box positively begs to become a six foot poster. Many of us have openly pleaded with General Mills to add a rights-skirting spin on Gill-man to their Monster Cereals lineup, but back in 2000, Kellogg’s came pretty close on their own! (We never found out exactly who that green paw belonged to, but come on… it had to be the Creature from the Black Lagoon.)

While the cereal resembled candy corn, I don’t believe it was actually meant to taste like it. I’m thinking this was some weird lemon/orange concoction. Edible Pledge. Read More…

Classic Creepy Commercials, Volume 10!

It’s the first day of autumn! (Or the second, depending on when you read this.)

What better way to celebrate than with another edition of Classic Creepy Commercials, featuring all sorts of eerie ads from the ‘80s and ‘90s? (I mean besides a cool walk under moonlight scored by the sweet sounds of Ministry.)

The first four commercials were donated by Larry P., friend to fiends. The last one’s from me.

a5Bartz Displays Halloween Sale! (1982)

Oh boy. Before you skip this one on account of the not-so-catchy title, know that it’s easily in the top five Halloween commercials that I’ve ever featured on Dino Drac. No, I’m not overselling it. Just click play.

The commercial, which plays out like a fever dream from an Alan Ball drama, promotes the big Halloween sale at Bartz Displays. Chiefly featuring Bartz’s costume collection, we intrude on balls-out bizarre Halloween party, where dozens of weirdos in wildly disparate disguises bop around a dark, dank parallel dimension.

Since gory and monstrous costumes were there in such volume, it’s oddly the squeaky clean ones that’ll make you shiver. Watch this commercial, and then tell me you weren’t just a wee bit unsettled by Donald Duck and Yoda. Holy shit, this one would’ve been nightmare fuel even without the ersatz Madd Matt on voice-over duty. Read More…

Ingredients of a Halloween Yard Haunt!

Put simply, a yard haunt refers to the assemblage of Halloween decorations on one’s front lawn. Media attention focuses on those who go all-out, with thousands of dollars’ worth of spooky scenery. In truth, you could put two plastic skulls on your stoop and call it a “yard haunt.” That’s the beauty of it!

Yard haunts are quietly one of the best things about this season. Who hasn’t driven around their neighborhood on some October evening, marveling at everyone’s macabre creations? It’s Halloween in its purest form.

I’m impressed when a family takes their decorating to theme park levels, but I’m even more charmed by the “simpler” yard haunts, which utilize found or homemade items, and nail a certain “crude charm” better than anything else on the goddamned planet.

You should know the type, because so many of us grew up making them. Between the slapdash scarecrows and the cardboard tombstones, they were testaments to our creativity… and to our general unwillingness to spend more than a half hour doing anything.

Those sorts of yard haunts looked — and still look — something like this:

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Granted, that’s staged from my back deck, but had I assembled it on the front lawn, it’d look no different. My spread includes all of the major yard haunt bullet points, and best of all, I couldn’t have spent more than five bucks on it.

Mileages vary, but as I see it, the classic, screwy, cheapo yard haunt primarily consists of five items. If you’d like to make your own, start with this junk: Read More…

Pumpkin Spice Frosted Mini-Wheats!

If you’re charmed by the idea of “Halloween cereal” but find the usual crop a bit too juvenile for your tastes, here’s one for the more sophisticated palate:

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Okay, so maybe I’m stretching things. Just a little.

Still, Kellogg’s new Pumpkin Spice Frosted Mini-Wheats is by far one the least “cartoony” of this year’s autumnal breakfast offerings, and if you don’t believe me, just check out that box. It looks like a Food & Wine cover!

(Huge props to the designer on this one. It’s the most fall-centric thing I’ve seen all year, evoking everything from farmer’s markets to late October picnics. Thank you, cereal box, for inspiring me to learn more about flour and foliage.) Read More…

The Purple Stuff Podcast: Episode 7!

Apparently, my new thing is posting ten seconds before midnight. I’ve decided to roll with it!

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It’s time for the latest episode of The Purple Stuff Podcast, with me and Jay from The Sexy Armpit. In tonight’s show, we’re talking about all sorts of PUMPKIN MONSTERS from all walks of pop culture. Basically, any character that can be perceived — however loosely — to be part pumpkin.

From Sam of Trick ‘r Treat fame to Blobkin the Halloween Boglin, I think we hit all of the major ones. Know of any more? Tell us in the comments… or just discuss the weird creatures mentioned in this episode!

You can listen on the player above, or access the MP3 directly over here. As a reminder, The Purple Stuff Podcast is also on iTunes and Stitcher!

Thanks so much for listening! Read More…